Tag Archives: “gotcha!”

Morning Ethics Warm-Up: 7/22/17

Good Morning from sunny Daytona Beach, Florida, where I recently arrived to prepare for an ethics seminar I will be giving to a most ethical law firm. Ironically, the law firms that least require my guidance are the only ones that hire me. The law firms that desperately need ethics training don’t care.

1. Today in line (Group 6) to board my 6:45 AM American Airlines flight and wishing I were dead, my eyes were treated to the brilliant yellow jacket being worn by a young woman in front of me. In part because I wasn’t awake, I blurted out, “Thank-you for that jacket! The yellow is exactly the stimulation I need right now!” She smiled broadly and said, I think sincerely, “Thank you!” And suddenly I was reminded of the  phony anti-Trump outrage of ten days ago, when the President allegedly embarrassed the nation and showed that he was a pig by daring to say to Mrs. Macron, “You’re in such good shape!”

By the reaction across the media, you would have thought he said, “What a great rack!” while drooling. There is nothing inherently inappropriate abut a spontaneous compliment on a woman’s appearance. It’s dangerous in the workplace, because there are women who are locked and loaded to cry harassment at such comments, no matter how mild or innocent, and if a women feels harassed, sayeth the law, you’re probably a harasser. However, actual human interaction involves reading people and situations, and every one is different.

Trump’s comment can easily be justified. I’m sure he’s used to women feeling like trolls when forced to stand next to his model wife, and a sincere sounding compliment is probably well-received. I was once passing through a receiving line that included a woman whom I had not seen for a year or so, and she had lost a great deal of weight. “You look great!” I said without thinking every hard about it. She appreciated the compliment; she had worked hard to lose the weight, and was glad I not only noticed, but that I said so.

Another encounter came when a young woman got on the elevator with me at a hotel a few months ago. She was wearing a sleeveless something or other, and her bulging biceps were hard to ignore. “Nice guns!” I said. She responded immediately with, “Thank you! I worked hard for them. Most guys think they’re gross.”

“Nah, they’re just insecure,” I said. “Being jerks. Don’t let them discourage you.”

“Thanks for that too!” she said, smiling, and got off on her floor.

Lots of factors go into whether a compliment is taken as a benign social gesture or a rude salacious intrusion. My actors in the ProEthics sexual harassment seminars do a skit in which “Good morning” is delivered in a way that could be sexual harassment, and “Wow, you look terrific this morning!” is said in a manner that raises no red flags at all. A chraming and skilled speaker can make comments that would have gotten me thrashed by that female bodybuilder sound like a sonnet. Continue reading

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Filed under Around the World, Character, Etiquette and manners, Gender and Sex

Observations On The Obscene Trump Audio Scandal

4217128-caveman

A leaked audio  obtained and released by the Washington Post has Donald Trump commenting to media personality Billy Bush about his attempts to bed a married woman, a few months months after he married Melania Trump, his third wife. When he sees a beautiful woman, the GOP standard-bearer said, he  kisses her without consent.  “When you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything,” he explains. He describes a married woman who wouldn’t sleep with him by making fun of her as having“phony tits.” Then he advises Bush, “Grab them by the pussy.”

Nice.

But not surprising. Not even a little bit.

Observations:

1. CNN’s senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta believes this may finish Trump’s presidential campaign. Utter incompetence and confirmation bias: why does anyone listen to “experts” this dense? Acosta, and I’m sure he has lots of company, apparently has learned nothing over the past year. What kind of person who currently supports Trump despite his constant vulgarity, misogyny, meanness, dishonesty, irresponsible statements and foolishness would regard this unremarkable male jerkishness as a last straw? Of course he talks like that. I never had any doubt that he talked like that, just as I never doubted that Hillary Clinton regarded Bernie’s supporters as gullible children, as a recent leak of her candid comments revealed. Did you think Trump talked about women differently than this when he was with other guys? Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Ethics Train Wrecks, Etiquette and manners, Gender and Sex, Journalism & Media

Wait…WHAT? What Are You Implying, CNN?

CNN tweet

 

So let me get this straight: Donald Trump is a fool for trying to court black voters without understanding that they equate themselves with felons? Really sensitive people like journalists realize that “blacks” and “felons” are synonymous?

Boy, this racism thing is a lot more complicated than I thought…

File this one under: “Bias makes you stupid,” and I’m not referring to Donald Trump

_______________________

Pointer: Instapundit

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Filed under Citizenship, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Race, Unethical Tweet

More Headline Ethics: Was This Apology Really Perfect? Or Even Necessary? No.

United States' Simone Manuel leaves the pool after winning a women's 100-meter freestyle semifinal during the swimming competitions at the 2016 Summer Olympics, Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2016, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

Salon is hailing what it calls a “10” apology (that would be a Category One apology on the Ethics Alarms Apology Scale) from the San Jose Mercury News. My tireless ethics story scout sent the Salon account to me for a reaction, and here it is.

To be fair to Salon, though the headline is “An Olympic-sized gaffe: This newspaper’s apology, at least, gets a perfect 10,” the story doesn’t match the headline. (There’s a lot of that going around lately.) What the post said was,

“So let’s give a modest round of applause this week to San Jose’s The Mercury News, for at least hitting the bar of appropriate responsiveness after screwing up its initial coverage of Thursday’s historic night for the U.S. Olympic swim team.”

I find nothing incorrect about that assessment, if I accept the premise that the paper screwed up, which I only do mildly, if at all.  Salon’s angle is that there is generally a reluctance to apologize, so the San Jose Mercury News being willing to apologize is newsworthy all by itself. Actually, newspapers apologize all the time; not enough, but frequently.

So why is this apology so important? This is Salon, remember. It’s an apology for perceived racial insensitivity, which in Salon’s politically correct world is about the worst crime there is.

Last week,  31-year-old Michael Phelps scored his 22nd career gold medal in the 200-meter individual medley. The same night, Simone Manuel, 20, tied with Canada’s Penny Oleksiak in the 100-meter freestyle to win an individual gold medal in swimming, and set a new Olympic record. The Mercury News headlined the night “Olympics: Michael Phelps shares historic night with African-American.” 

The Horror.

To Salon, this headline demanded an apology, and the paper received some complaints. Why was it apology worthy? Here’s Salon, which first took offense that Manuel wasn’t named in the headline: Continue reading

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Filed under Journalism & Media, Race, Social Media

The Right Wing Media Tries A “Gotcha!” On Brian Williams, And Looks Ignorant, Biased And Unfair

Atom bomb cloud

Bias makes us stupid, as I write here often.

One after another,  conservative media reporters  pounced on MSNBC’s Brian Williams, the exiled ex-NBC anchorman, for saying this on the air, in a discussion about the anti-nukes movement, re-energized by President Obama’s remarks at Hiroshima:

“It is and that is still the threat that people worry about that this material will fall into the wrong hands. If people have found the U.S. to be preachy in the years since Hiroshima and Nagasaki about the use of weapons, it’s because we’re the only nation to have used them in anger. Sometimes, I am amazed that the world has been without these weapons all the years since, but it is a point of, a great pride by the people who have seen to it.”

My God! Brian Williams, that lying liberal, actually smeared the United States and President Truman by suggesting that we dropped the atom bombs out of spite! Revenge! Hate! And he did it on Memorial Day weekend; its’ an insult to everyone who fought and died in that war!

Curis Houck, Newsbusters: “Williams  took a swipe at the entire reason that Truman had the bombs dropped (which was to end the war)”…

David Rutz, Washington Freebeacon: “MSNBC’s Brian Williams said the U.S. used nuclear weapons against Japan “in anger” Friday, an expression sure to upset those who recognize the decision potentially saved hundreds of thousands of lives by bringing about a swift end to World War II.”

Matt Vespa, Town Hall: “[T]he notion that anger was seemingly the primary motivating factor in dropping atomic bombs is nonsense. We did it to end the war….”

Sarah Hoyt, Instapundit: “WHAT THE? HOW ABOUT WE USED THEM IN STRATEGY?  Do these people have to have their brains ablated before getting newsmedia jobs?…And if we had used them in anger, would they have stopped the war less?  Stopped the massacre of our troops less? Stopped the likely suicide (in case of American invasion) of Japanese citizens less?  Dear Brian Williams, get a clue.”

There is nothing quite like living up to the worst stereotypes of conservatives pushed by the liberal media. Continue reading

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Filed under Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Government & Politics, History, Journalism & Media

Observations On The Hillary/de Blasio “CPT” Skit Uproar

beaver-crushed-by-his-own-treeOut of trivial occurrences  enlightenment may flow.

In a skit last weekend in the Inner Circle show, annual charity event put on by the New York press corps to roast the Mayor, Hillary Clinton joined de Blasio as a surprise guest and chided him for delaying his endorsement of her presidential campaign.

“Thanks for the endorsement. Took you long enough,” Clinton said

“Sorry, Hillary. I was running on C.P. Time,” de Blasio replied. Little gasps were heard in the audience, for C.P. Time, more correctly “CPT”—you know, like EST?—means “Colored People Time,” referring to the alleged proclivity of African American and Hispanics to have a casual regard for punctuality.

Black “Hamilton” star Leslie Odom Jr., who plays Aaron Burr in the hit musical, was on stage as part of the skit, and admonished the  mayor, saying, “I don’t like jokes like that, Bill.”

Hillary then intervened and said, “Cautious Politician Time. I’ve been there.”

I’ll let you compose yourself after the that hilarious joke before continuing.

OK, now? Good. Continue reading

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Filed under Government & Politics, Humor and Satire, Journalism & Media, Leadership, Race, Social Media

The Gap Kids Ad

gapkids

The photo above was part of a recent ad campaign for Gap Kids. The campaign, which launched last week, is in collaboration with Ellen DeGeneres’ lifestyle brand ED. Gap is donating $250,000 to the charity Girls Inc. to support its economic literacy program.

Criticism erupted on social media and elsewhere that the ad gave a message of “passive racism.”

Nathalie Yves Gaulthier, founder of Le Petit Cirque, the youth performance group whose members are seen in the ad, tried to explain, saying in part:

“The child in the ad is not an ‘armrest,’ she’s the other girl’s little sister. They are a very close family. The child is a very young (junior) member with Le Petit Cirque, a humanitarian cirque company, and therefore a wee shyer than the more seasoned older outgoing girls. Our company is deeply saddened by some people misconstruing this as racist, and are keeping the children out if this at the moment to protect their beautiful feelings , but we are extremely supportive of dialogue in our country to move past any racial barriers…”

Gap decided that discretion was the better part of valor, and replaced the image in the campaign. It apologized to critics last week, saying:

“As a brand with a proud 46-year history of championing diversity and inclusivity, we appreciate the conversation that has taken place and are sorry to anyone we’ve offended. This GapKids campaign highlights true stories of talented girls who are celebrating creative self-expression and sharing their messages of empowerment. We are replacing the image with a different shot from the campaign, which encourages girls (and boys) everywhere to be themselves and feel pride in what makes them unique.”

It’s a non-apology apology, of course, a clear #8 on the Ethics Alarms Apology Scale:

“A forced apology for a rightful or legitimate act, in capitulation to bullying, fear, threats, desperation or other coercion.”

Corporations are more or less forced to capitulate to “gotcha!” accusations like this, because there is no up-side in fighting them, and the companies’ job is to make money while alienating as few people as possible. If Social Justice Warriors and aggressive race-baiters are determined to claim that an ad intentionally denigrates a black child as subordinate to white children, then that message will overwhelm the ad no matter what is said or seen. Continue reading

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Business & Commercial, Childhood and children, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Marketing and Advertising, Race, U.S. Society